Saturday, January 29, 2011

Change to the blog

I took the time to add a new feature to the blog. The GMDM trade tree !

In the right hand column you will find GMDMs trade transactions, listing all the trades GMDM has made thus far as a member of the Royals. Included in each trade is the who each player was traded for and if they got traded again and who that turned into. Example Ruben Gotay for Jeff Keppinger turned for Russ Haltwinger. That trade as you can see resulted in a negative 2.o WAR meaning GMDM went backwards in that particular trade.

I used Fangraphs WAR and Baseball Refrence WAR to make calculate the WAR totals, primarily using Fangraphs but in a couple instances I used Baseball Reference for split season totals.

A couple notes - If a player is resigned by their current club then I consider the trade "still in progress" because I believe that team got a head start with him because he was their property. Ex. Jorge De La Rosa. Also if a player is released or moves on to another team I consider the trade complete. I also consider the trade complete if the player is traded from the Royals and is not considered the primary piece in that trade. Ex. Yuniesky Betancourt.

Surprising to me GMDM comes out on top with all these trades combined by a modest amount. I will keep a running total as long as the players are with the traded teams.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

6 Future Royals land on MLB Top 50

Good signs of the future as 6 Royal minor leaguers ended up on the Top 50 list.

Players and possible starting point and draft pick
#7 overall Mike Moustakas Omaha Storm Chasers 2007 #2 overall pick
#8 Eric Hosmer Omaha Storm Chasers 2008 #3 Overall pick
#14 Mike Montgomery NW Arkansas Naturals 2008 Supplemental pick
#16 Wil Myers NW Arkansas Naturals 2009 3rd Round pick
#34 John Lamb NW Arkansas Naturals 2008 5th Round pick
#37 Jake Odorizzi Wilmington Blue Rocks Aquired in the Zack Greinke trade

This is a sign of how far GMDM has taken the minor league system in a short time. Guys like Danny Duffy, Chris Dwyer, Christian Colon and Aaron Crow were probably not far behind and could also be heard of not too far down the road.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Predicting the 25 Man Roster

It's getting closer with approximately 21 days until pitchers and catchers report and around 47 days until I make it down to Phoenix/Surprise myself. I thought I'd make and early prediction on how the 25 man roster will breakdown.

SP Luke Hochevar (LOCK)-Could have breakout yr with better infield defense
SP Jeff Francis (LOCK)-Love his control
SP Vin Mazzaro (LOCK)
SP Kyle Davies (LOCK)
SP Bruce Chen (LOCK)
RP Joakim Soria (LOCK)-Best closer not named Mariano
RP Robinson Tejeda (LOCK)- Outstanding after April in '10
RP Blake Wood (LOCK)- Starting getting K's in Aug/Sep
RP Sean O'Sullivan
RP Kanekoa Texeira-
RP Greg Holland- Victim of .400+ BABIP last yr, 11.1 K/9 in '10
RP Tim Collins- 9.3 K/9 @ AAA was the low of his career

I think Sean O'Sullivan or Kanekoa Texeira will fall victim to Louis Coleman by midseason. Once Coleman is added there is a possibility that this could be the best Royals bullpen has looked since 2008 when they had Ron Mahay, Ramon Ramirez and Leo Nunez getting the ball to Soria. That group was only together for one season where this group (Wood, Holland, Collins and Coleman) could be leading to Soria saves for a few seasons.

Infield (8)
C Brayan Pena (LOCK)- Gets his shot to show he can be a #1
C Lucas May
1b Billy Butler (LOCK)- 36 HR 96 doubles last 2 yrs
Dh Kila Ka'aihue (LOCK)- .878 OPS in Sept is what we were lookin for
2b Mike Aviles (LOCK)- From Apr-Aug 14 XB hits Sept 13 XB hits
SS Alcides Escobar (LOCK)-2010 .264 BABIP
3b Wilson Betemit
UT Chris Getz-His light hitting days are numbered w/Gio in Omaha

Mike Aviles health adds to the versatility of this group. His ability to play a passable 2b,SS and 3b allows KC to carry three 1b/DH (Kila, Butler, Betemit). Moustakas shoud be up by June or July leaving the loser of the Kila/Betemit competition as the probable odd man out.

Outfield (5)
RF Jeff Franceour (LOCK)
LF Alex Gordon
CF Lorenzo Cain
4OF Melky Cabrerra
OF Gregor Blanco

This is definitely the hardest group to determine. While Frenchy and Gordon are locks I don't think any of that can be said about the rest of the group. I give Melky and Blanco a headstart over Maier just based on where they come from organizationally. Should that be the case? No, definitely not, I think Mitch Maier is every bit as good if not better than both. But I think the point of the new roster is to purge the organization of the past and he unfortunately is apart of the past.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Myers moves to OF

Myers is all natural, no batting gloves. Picture

It became official Saturday as the Royals announced that Wil Myers will move to the OF in the spring.

Myers IMO will have little problem making adjustments with the bat at any level as he has extremely quick hands and strong wrist. He played OF in High School and has the arm to perform in RF with his natural athleticism. As I predicted earlier this month he will challenge Hosmer for player of year at the minor league level and if Hosmer is asked to start the season at AA then the two will make a sick 3-4 combo.

I'll try to get as much video as I can of him playing in the outfield when I'm at spring training from Mar 13-18.

Videos I previously uploaded
Burlington 1st AB
Myers 2nd AB

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Good work Dayton !

The Royals announced that they signed Billy Butler through his three arbitration years and one year of free agency today. Dick Kaegel reports it is a 4 year 30 million dollar deal for Billy thru 2014. I'm all for this move as Billy's career definitely seems to be headed in a positive direction with improvements in weighted on base average and defense at first base. This contract will expire when Billy is 28 leaving the Royals in control of the majority of his peak years and putting them in a possible playoff position by 2013/2014.

2014 is the key to this deal with the Royals possibly getting Moustakas up sometime in 2011 along with a few arms (Collins, Coleman, Duffy, Teaford). After the '11 group the Royals could add Hosmer, Montgomery and Lamb in 2012. The extra year with Butler allows a little time for the bats to develop for a run at the playoffs in 2013 and 2014.

Best Case Scenario 2013/2014
1b Hosmer
2b Giavotella/Colon
SS Escobar
3b Moustakas
DH Butler
LF Lough
CF Eibner
RF Myers
C Perez

Overall the deal is a solid win for the Royals, Dayton Moore and the fans that like watching Billy Butler.

UPDATE It is being reported that the Royals have a club option for 2015. Now this is a GREAT Deal not just a good one. GREAT JOB DAYTON !

Friday, January 21, 2011

Yost picks us up off the floor

Digital Digest was on Thursday and we bloggers were foaming at the mouth for a shot at the champion (Dayton Moore). We had practiced, strategized and even solicited outside help. This was going to be the main event of all events. The pay per view was bought, paid for and then before it started it was over. Dayton had bobbed, weaved and worked us over like a pro in his prime facing a not ready for prime time opponent. We were of no match, he turned 5 questions into an art of ducking, jabbing and scoring like he was Floyd Merriweather Junior and we were the white slow pasty contenders fresh from the basement. His parting shot was a revelation that Zack had three interested parties two of which were on his no trade clause. What? Wait, who was the third? Alas but our time was up the final extension of his chin only to leave us whiffing.

What now? How can we show our faces in front of the blogger gym/basement again?

Oh ya the old Rocky coach who just gave the old guard a tongue lashing the day before. He'll embrace and open up with the new guys and gal on the block. He'll help mold us and reveal some interesting stuff along the way.

By looking at Ned's body language he looks quite intimidated by our presence

Question #1 (Michael Engel Kings of Kaufman): I've read an article where you said the Royals have the prospects down the line to win a world series but you also related it to the Brewers who had Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun. What do you see different?

Ned Yost (condensed answer)- Just looked at today and we've got Hos, Moose at #1 on the corners, Myers #2 behind the plate and Giavotella #10 at second base. We've got pitching right handed and left handed coming and relievers that I believe are going to be real good pitchers. The Royals have more depth top to bottom than Milwaukee and is more comparable to the situation in Atlanta.

My interpretation- He seems very excited about the depth of the system not being tied to just one or two young players. He knows most the players in the system and knows that the depth is there for a decent run and his job isn't tied to just one or two guys.

Question (Brian McGannon Royals Kingdom): Did you ever notice a negative effect from Zack?

Condensed NY - No. Zack is different and he was uncomfortable to communicate unless it was necessary. He's quiet reserved except when he's on that mound.

Question: Do you want Soria to pitch more + the sabermetric community believe the closer role is overinflated, would you consider bringing Soria in the game in a more high leverage situation?

NY - I know a lot of people say that and there is a lot of times the 6th inning is a black hole to me. If you can get through the 6th you are generally setup for the 8th, 7th. A lot of people say that but I don't see a lot of managers doing it. One day it could become a trend but you won't catch me doing it. But it does make sense there is merit to the thought. I want a guy that when I get to the 8th inning he's gonna close that out.

My interpretation - Plain and simple it might be the better thing to do but I am not gonna step out on that limb by myself. He tries to turn the game into an eight inning game and feels more comfortable going with the status quo until someone else throws their self on the sword.

Question (Nick Scott Royals Authority): Is setting the lineup the most overrated thing you do?

NY - Yes, yes it is. It's really overrated, I've read studies where sabermetric community states you can pull your lineup out of a hat and you're not gonna get much more production. You still go with a traditional lineup however you get your speed guy 1, your situational hitter 2, your best hitter three, your most power four your best RBI guy five and then your last hitters you line them up to that point. It's a little overrated

My interpretation- I'm just impressed that he's read some studies in regards to this. Yes I would like him to read some of the other stuff that states your two hitter is more important than your three but in the end he's right the impact of the order is minimal, unless you have Kendall batting second of course.

Question (Brian McGannon) Last year you batted Willie Bloomquist one game. Was that a message to tell young guys that if you work hard enough in your career you can earn this sort of thing?

NY : Nah I just felt Willie was gonna have a good day.

My interpretation- As he said earlier the lineup isn't an exact science and sometimes you just go with your gut. Simple, easy and real.

Question (Matt/Boots 58@Royals Review) What do you see as the makeup of the outfield?

NY: Going into this if we traded Zack we would definitely get some outfielders back. Looking at the makeup of our outfield everyone coming back were all left handed hitters. But we didn't know what we were going to get back in the Greinke trade, then it appeared a deal wasn't going to happen so we committed to Jeff and Melky. And one of the reasons they came here was the opportunity to play everyday. And we have Alex working hard everyday.

(Matt/Boots58@Royals Review) Do you plan on playing Alex everyday?

NY: Ya but kind of but Lorenzo Cain is in that mix, Blanco is in that mix and Dyson is in that mix. We'll have to see how things shake out. Melky is a switch hitter so you don't have a platoon advantage there, Jeff kills lefthanders and he's gonna do good against righties.

(Minda Haas Since playing time has been promised to outfielders, what happens if someone outperforms the others.

NY: Then we'll just sit down and read about it. I don't know we'll see what happens. In order to bounce back you've got to be given an opportunity and it can't be a week it can't be two days or three days. You have to give guys legitimate opportunities with patience and courage to give guys opportunities to be the players you hope they can be.

My interpretation:
Right or wrong I think the Royals have made commitments to Franceour and are willing to give him the starting job everyday. Yost tossed in that bit about good against righties because he doesn't want to let on about a possibility of platooning him. I really get the idea that he's going to let the rest just shake out from there and he's open to any of the other two spots.

Question (Nick Scott): Have you ever seen the Hal McRae video where he goes crazy, do you ever sympathize and want to do that your self?

NY : Ya I've seen it but no I've been through this before. I know where we are doing, I know where we are going, I know what it's gonna take to get there, how were are gonna get there and that keeps me going. Doing it right.

My interpretation: Yost came off as supremely confident with this answer. I really get the impression that he is all in with this. Maybe it's cause he has to be but it really sounds like he believes. I never heard that commitment from Trey or the last few managers and perhaps its because I never sat in a room with them or believed myself the way I do but this time it sounded true and real.

For some of you perhaps these weren't great answers on Ned's part but to me it was refreshing that he didn't give coach speak. He gave us true from the gut type answers and at least for me that's all I was asking out of this opportunity.

Links to the other winners blog articles about the experience:Nick Scott The Internet Meets Dayton Moore Broken Bat Singles Podcast #41
Matt Boots 58 Royals Digital Digest 2011; It All Happens Here
Michael Engel Let's Get Digital
Minda Haas Jeff Franceour on leadership, FanFest odds and ends, FanFest musings: the Dayton Moore interview
Kirk Harris A Yeti goes to Fan Fest
Brian McGannon Billy Butler doesn't know any good places to eat in Idaho Falls, plus Dayton Moore
If I left anyone out please email me and I'll get it posted.

A look behind the curtain

Thursday the Digital Digest winners took a behind the scenes look at Fanfest. While later this evening or tomorrow I'll break down each soundbite I first wanted to thank the staff of the Royals for this opportunity. Mike Swanson and Dave Holtzman were top notch in explaining the process of finally coming around to the social media format and reshaping their thoughts on that field. Whether you think that bloggers should be involved in this type of format or not the fact that Swanson in particular has changed his ideas is the first step and from there we (bloggers/social media) have to prove that we can provide something worthy of the opportunity. It's a refreshing step from what some of us view as a old timer organization.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

What to do with 12 million dollars

Shocking news hit Royaldom Tuesday when Gil Meche decided to retire from baseball and turn down his final year of 12+ million from the Royals. While many (myself included) have talked about whether that is commendable, heroic or foolish the one thing that is perfectly clear to all of us, he didn't have to do it. Whatever your opinion of Meche's career and his situation he's giving the Royals even more flexibility than what they already had by not chewing up the money in the bullpen.

Dutton released an interesting tweet in regards to the money saved:
To all who have asked, no, the #Royals aren't likely to use the Meche payroll savings to pursue remaining free agents. But budgets for the draft and international scouting could get a boost.

The average fan would be disappointed by that news and tell you KC just got 12M tossed at them and they need to go spend the money via free agency. Perhaps that would be true if Meche had released this news at the start of the offseason and maybe KC could've got something worthwhile for that money. At this point currently though with less than 30 days until pitchers and catchers report the talent pool via free agency is extremely depleted and that would essentially be burning the money up for perhaps one or two wins. So let us look at Dutton's scenario

Since GMDM has taken over he's done an extremely solid job of spending appropriate money on the amateur draft while sprinkling in some solid international signings. The two budgets(amateur and major league) from the outside appear to be tied together as Dutton mentioned. One can see the highest draft budget under GMDM's watch coincided with the lowest major league budget in 2008. While that draft pool seemingly was the deepest from '07-10 it also goes to show how spending that money correctly could reshape an organization. Just in that '08 draft KC took Eric Hosmer, Mike Montgomery, Johnny Giavotella, John Lamb and Blaine Hardy all of which are close to knocking on the door to the major league roster within a year or so.

KC will enter this season with approximately 40 million committed to the major league team, the lowest since 2005 and by far the lowest of GMDM's tenure. What KC has an opportunity to do if they want is dominate the international draft and buyout lots of amateur draft picks. If Matt Purke drops to them at 5 and wants 10 million then KC can do it, if Bubba Starling is holding the Nebraska scholarship and 5 milion over their heads again no problem. Perhaps GMDM wants to spend 20M total for amateurs this season, Glass considering the budgets of the past has no real reason to say no. He'll still be saving money over what he has the past few seasons.

In my opinion continually loading up on the amateur ranks is the only way to go with this extra Meche money.

Photo: Arkansas Online

Next Up: Royals FanFest Thursday

Friday, January 14, 2011

Royals sign Jeff Francis

GMDM made a solid signing today inking Jeff Francis to a one year 2M+ incentives deal. Francis a lefty from the Rockies organization is trying to rebuild his career after shoulder problems kept him out in 2009 and part of 2010.

A few positives come with this deal.
The Royals didn't overpay.

Francis has some upside to him as opposed to a Kevin Millwood who would be nothing more than a Jason Kendall on the mound.

If Francis proves to be healthy and back to his old form the Royals should be able to turn him at the deadline for a nice prospect or two.

This should hold back the front office from starting Duffy or Teaford on the major league 25 man to begin the season. Teaford was hit hard in his one AAA start and as Edgar Osuna proved last season the Pacific Coast League can prove to be quite challenging as compared to AA. If Duffy, Teaford or other lefty prove to be ready for the majors early they perhaps can learn a thing or two from Francis while he is in KC.

The Royals continue to not spend big in a non-contend season. GMDM has seemingly learned from past mistakes and continues to sign contracts that will not limit the payroll of the future.

All in all a nice limited downside type of deal.

The Royals also inked Luke Hochevar and Alex Gordon to one year deals for 1.76 and 1.4M(100K incentive) respectively. Hoch was given no raise while Gordon received a modest 300K raise. The Royals continue to win by avoiding arbitration with their players. Billy Butler, Kyle Davies and Robinson Tejeda remain the only unsigned arbitration eligible Royals left.

Next up: Why I'm bullish on GMDM.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Fanfest and Digital Digest

Well with quite a bit of surprise to me my blog was chosen as one of the participants in the Digital Digest portion of Royals FanFest. I look forward to this opportunity to meet Dayton Moore, Ned Yost and some of the players in the organization. I am looking to record the goings on and post as much audio and video as possible. My focus will be on the minor leaguers as usual and hopefully I can get some interviews with a few.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Royals passing on a Soria deal is a mistake

The Royals according to Bill Madden are refusing to deal Joakim Soria to the Yankees for a package of Jesus Montero and Eduardo Nunez. In my opinion that is just crazy to refuse all offers for a closer who is going to have so little effect on the Royals over the next couple years.

Jesus Montero and his bat are rated as the best overall bat in the minors. His power rates up or above that of Moustakas's while his hit tool and patience rates even or better than that of Myers and Hosmer. Yes his defense is suspect at catcher but he is still only 21 years old and could possibly improve and if it doesn't you still have options to move him to DH or OF if he proves the bat is real.

Soria career high is 2.4 WAR according to Fangraphs while a good hitting no glove catcher/DH by the name of Jorge Posada was worth 2.4 WAR in 120 games last season. Posada is definitely on the back half of his career and those numbers were the second worst of his career in a full season. Soria while great is still a reliever which by definition is a high risk position by definition. The Royals are possibly passing on a 4 or more WAR catcher who they would control for 2 more years for significantly less money for a few extra saves.

Eduardo Nunez isn't exciting as he is pretty much a duplicate to Alcides Escobar but I'm sure the Royals could substitute him for a starting RHP if they so desired. Nunez still would offer a decent security blanket if Escobar can't increase his plate discipline or settle down his concentration lapses in the field. A trade for Nunez would turn the organization once barren with SS talent into a talent rich position with the additions of Escobar and the international kids. Adding another asset offers them the flexibility to turn a SS prospect which is always worth something in the majors.

The Royals should be interested in acquiring assets like the Rays as opposed to saving a couple wins here or there. One of the reasons analyst believe the Royals are going to succeed in the future is because of the depth of the system. KC isn't going to bring up 1 or 2 guys like in the past they have 20-25 really talented players and yes some will fail but some will also become average and a couple should become superstars. That being said they shouldn't stop adding assets and allowing themselves flexibility. Picking up Montero allows them the ability to trade others. The 2 or 3 extra wins Soria will save them this season could also cost them two or more draft slots like it did this season.

Depth in the bullpen could be one reason Dayton Moore wants to pass on this deal but the Royals should have a solid pen for a number of years. Robinson Tejeda has put up back to back solid seasons. Blake Wood is learning to throw out of the pen and pitchers are on the way. Louis Coleman, Patrick Keating, Tim Collins, Kevin Chapman, Jeremy Jeffress, Henry Barrera are just some of the plethera of bullpen arms on the way to KC. Some will fail but a starter or two could also add to that bullpen depth. This is not a reason to pass on this trade.

The kid can't defend but he sure can hit. Who am I talking about? Billy Butler of course, why do I talk of Billy Butler? Well my favorite Royal is due a hefty raise and while the Royals have tons and tons of financial flexibility the next couple years Butler as a DH is not a cornerstone type. Montero is ready now and if he proves he can hit on Butler's level the next couple years then the Royals have a tradeable asset in Billy if Hosmer also proves to be major league ready. Montero could slide into that DH spot while the Royals could trade a hopefully better hitting Butler for another asset or two or four.

This move more than the Greinke trade could be a huge game changer. As the Greinke rumors came out the Royals due to Greinke's no trade clause and Dayton's apparent need of middle of the field talent limited the top end of any deal they could have received. This deal however even with the limited number of players involved can have a ripple effect on the organization that even a great closer like Soria can't duplicate for KC.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Minor League Predictions and Goals for the Blog

The baseball season is slowly coming around as we are just 52 days until the Royals first spring training game. 2011 is going to be a interesting year at the major league level to say the least but the real excitement for the Royals in 2011 is going to happen at the minor league level. With the influx of talent I thought I would take this time to make my 2011 minor league predictions.

The Call Ups - Minor leaguers that will be called up this season.
Mike Moustakas after June
Tim Collins Makes the ML roster
Louis Coleman
Lorenzo Cain
Jeremy Jeffress
Danny Duffy
David Lough
Mike Montgomery September Call up
Eric Hosmer September Call up
Chris Dwyer September Call up

Positional Breakout Performer
Brett Eibner CF - Possibly the best athlete in the system since Beltran, Eibner has big time power and decent patience. I look for him to impress at the high A level and earn a bump up to AA to join Colon and Myers at NW Arkansas.

Starting Pitcher Breakout (outside the top 4)
Crawford Simmons - Simmons is a crafty lefty who should be able to handle Low A hitters with his great control and pitchability.

Minor League Playoff contenders
NW Arkansas

14 for 77 Minor League Player of the Year
Wil Myers and Eric Hosmer- The two studs will share the award after repeating what they did in 2010. I expect Myers will crush AA pitching in Coors Arvest field while Hosmer will push his way to a September call up.

14 for 77 MILB Pitcher of the Year
Chris Dwyer - Dwyer's low to mid 90s fastball combined with his organization best curve will help him pick up where it left off in the Texas League last season prior to his injury. Dwyer great season will be rewarded with a September call up after joining the crew in Omaha for a playoff run.

While there are sure to be some bumps in the road for some Royal minor leaguers there is actually room to improve from last seasons stellar performance. Names like Cuthbert, Yambati and Ventura could see action for the first time in full season ball while Ordonzzi, Jeffress and Marks will be added to the depth of an already strong system. My new goal of this blog is to get as much video as possible of the Royal minor leaguers in their pursuit of a major league dream. Kane County, NW Arkansas and Omaha will all be on the agenda again in 2011 hopefully multiple trips will allow me to bring the few readers I have a better idea of the prospects that are in the system.

NEXT UP Major League Predictions